Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information

  Classroom / Virtual-LIVE Programme


The UK's Leading Practical Qualification for the FOI Professional...


"I really enjoyed FOI practitioner programme - the tutors were real experts in their field. They went above and beyond to answer your questions and help you understand the material."

The Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information ("PC.foi") is the practical qualification for those that work in the field of Freedom of Information.

Successful completion of the Programme demonstrates to employers and others that the candidate possesses a solid knowledge of Freedom of Information law (and the Environmental Information Regulations), as well as an understanding of the practical implications for organisations of the legal requirements, including how to manage an FOI request from inception to completion.



The Classroom / Virtual-LIVE Programme

Classroom-based Programme

Virtual-LIVE Training

The tuition section of the Programme requires candidates to attend four one-day Compulsory Courses (see upcoming course dates below).

  • 4 days interactive 'Classroom' or 'Virtual-LIVE' training
  • study of course materials
  • the Examination (takes place online twice yearly)

The tuition section of the Programme requires candidates to attend four one-day Compulsory Courses (see boxes below).

Classroom versions of each course are held in several cities throughout the UK at various times of the year. 


eLearning (Distance Learning) alternative

The Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information is also available as an eLearning Programme (known as "Distance Learning")


Exam Dates

The next dates for the Examination are as follows:

  • Monday, 10th June 2024 (Online)
  • Monday, 9th December 2024 (Online)
  • Monday, 9th June 2025 (Online)
  • Monday, 8th December 2025 (Online)


The Fee



£2,295 plus VAT (fully inclusive of tuition, materials and the Examination).


Virtual-LIVE (WEBEX)

£1,995 plus VAT (fully inclusive of tuition, materials and the Examination).


A discount of 10% is available for each additional candidate from your organisation enrolling at the same time.


Candidates who have already attended any of the Compulsory Courses are not required to attend them again - a discount of £300 per course already attended will be applied to the Programme fee. Please let us know which courses you have already attended when you enrol on the Programme.


Alternatively if you have completed all 4 required courses before enrolling on the Qualification Programme, you can enrol onto the Qualification for £495 plus VAT. This fee is fully inclusive of comprehensive up-to-date printed materials, entry into the Examination and maintenance of your name on the Register of Qualified Practitioners (as well as PDP’s handling of queries from employers as to your qualified status for your career lifetime).


Register of Qualified Freedom of Information Practitioners

The online register of those who have gained the Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information can viewed here.


Further Information

If you have a query about the Programme, please:

  • visit the FAQs page
  • telephone PDP at +44 (0)207 014 3399
  • send an email



The Syllabus for the Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information Programme has been designed by the Examination Board.



Applications for the Programme can be made by

Dates of Upcoming Courses


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  Compulsory Courses
Candidates must attend all 4 courses shown in the table below (click on the links to see the course descriptions which open in a new window)

Compulsory Courses City Date
FOI Practical Training - Level 1 (Essential Knowledge)
Virtual-LIVE (Teams)Tue 10 Sep 2024
London (Classroom)Tue 15 Oct 2024
Manchester (Classroom)Tue 29 Oct 2024
Virtual-LIVE (Teams)Tue 26 Nov 2024
FOI Practical Training - Level 2 (Applying the Exemptions)
Virtual-LIVE (Teams)Wed 11 Sep 2024
London (Classroom)Wed 16 Oct 2024
Manchester (Classroom)Wed 30 Oct 2024
Virtual-LIVE (Teams)Wed 27 Nov 2024
FOI and Data Protection - How They Work Together
Virtual-LIVE (Teams)Thu 12 Sep 2024
London (Classroom)Thu 17 Oct 2024
Manchester (Classroom)Thu 31 Oct 2024
Virtual-LIVE (Teams)Thu 28 Nov 2024
Understanding the Environmental Information Regulations
Virtual-LIVE (Teams)Fri 13 Sep 2024
London (Classroom)Fri 18 Oct 2024
Manchester (Classroom)Fri 01 Nov 2024
Virtual-LIVE (Teams)Fri 29 Nov 2024


To make a booking:


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"The trainers were great, very knowledgeable and approachable. The examination was tough but that’s how it should be - I liked the format and the advice received beforehand, including practice questions, was really useful. The programme is definitely helpful to my role and I still regularly refer to the excellent workbooks."
David Ward
Information Rights Case Adviser
Department for Business and Trade


"I am very pleased to have achieved the Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information. The programme provides excellent knowledge and understanding on the practical applications of handling requests for information"
Louise Smith
Information Rights Officer
Financial Ombudsman Service


"I am thrilled to have passed PDP's Practitioner Certificate in FOI and joined the ranks of a qualified FOI Practitioner. My knowledge of FOI, DPA and EIR has increased immensely and I feel so much more confident in dealing with requests as well as running inductions. I now feel that I belong in my role."
Anabel Raszpla
Senior Information Officer
Medical Research Council


"I am extremely pleased to have achieved the Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information. The four day course was extremely informative and provided me with a large amount of information on the practical application of the Act, it really helped to fill the gaps. I would highly recommend this course to those working with FOI on a day to day basis."
Daniel Howard
Access to Information Officer
Electoral Commission


"I really enjoyed FOI practitioner programme - the tutors were real experts in their field. They went above and beyond to answer your questions and help you understand the material."
Michael Speight
Compliance Officer


"A very worthwhile qualification which I wholeheartedly recommend to colleagues"
Barbara Tyldesley
Data & Information Technical Specialist
The Environment Agency


“I am so pleased to have passed the Practitioner Certificate in FOI. The 4 day course was excellent and I am now confident in my role as FOI Officer for Social Services. The course has helped me develop my skills and knowledge of FOI/EIR and DP and I would encourage anyone working in this area to attend.”
Rachael Strand
Freedom of Information Officer
Flintshire County Council


“The Practitioner Certificate in FOI was an excellent opportunity to receive specialised training and gain a recognised qualification. In particular, I found the instructors to be both knowledgeable and engaging. As a regulator in an overseas territory, I was easily able to translate the learning into practice. I have and do encourage other FOI practitioners to take advantage of this training programme.”
Clara Smith
Appeals & Compliance Analyst
Information Commissioner’s Office (Grand Cayman)


"I am delighted to have passed my examination, achieving this qualification and attending the courses have been a very positive experience which have boosted my confidence and enthusiasm for this subject. I found the courses very informative and the course handout binders are an excellent reference tool which is very relevant to the workplace."
Julie Johnson
Freedom of Information Officer
Durham County Council


"I’m delighted to have passed the exam; it was hard work preparing for an exam, having not sat one for over 10 years, but the course materials really helped structure my revision. Passing has increased my confidence in dealing with the Act which will be of benefit to myself as well as my organisation."
Heledd Thomas
Senior Corporate Governance Officer
Comisiynydd y Gymraeg


“I found this to be a comprehensive course, which was well structured to be relevant and of interest to everyone from FOI beginners to more seasoned practitioners. The course tutors were very knowledgeable and clearly very interested in their respective topic areas, and the course was similarly detailed and well-taught."
Mark Reynolds
Data Privacy Legal Counsel


"I’m thrilled to have gained this qualification. FOI can be a complicated area to understand and apply, but the tutors were excellent in bringing it to life in an interesting way."
Angela Sanderson
Corporate Advisor
Big Lottery Fund


“I’ve been managing FOI and EIR requests since 2005 and I learnt so much from this qualification programme! I enjoyed the modules, the videos were really informative and I found the way the legislation was explained was easy to understand. The test at the end of each section was really useful.”
Sue Marriott
Data Protection Officer
Basildon Council


“The Practitioner’s Certificate has equipped me with the knowledge and confidence to undertake my role. I found the courses well presented and easy to follow. The case studies are particularly useful, as they give an insight into different scenarios that one may experience. I would recommend PDP to anyone wanting to gain this qualification.”
Kim Starbuck
Information Governance Coordination
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham


"Both the thought provoking training and materials as well as passing the exam will help to ensure we provide a prompt quality service when dealing with information requests particularly as those involving planning can raise complex issues"
John Pierce
Case Officer
The Department for Communities and Local Government


"I found the training to be both informative and well-structured which helped to make a complex subject more understandable. The effectiveness of the PDP training is evidenced by my success, in what I believed to be, a challenging examination and also the fact I feel better equipped to function in my workplace."
Kevin Spedding
Data Protection Coordinator
Witherslack Group


"The course was interesting and very challenging and I must admit that I felt totally exhausted when I left the exam. The hard work and revision was all worthwhile and I now feel more confident in my role."
Teresa Evans
Information Governance Manager
Birmingham City Council


"I found this course challenging, informative and incredibly beneficial to my role. All courses were very professionally delivered and each tutor’s knowledge of the subject was excellent. It was clear all tutors were highly motivated with a willingness to share their expertise. I highly recommend this course to all FOI practitioners."
Andrea Dow
GHA Legal


“I am delighted to have achieved the Practitioner Certificate in FOI. The PDP training sessions were extremely well delivered and although challenging I found them to be an enjoyable experience. Gaining the qualification has not only given me more confidence in my role as Freedom of Information Officer but has extended my knowledge and skills in my role. I would recommend the programme to anyone working in the field of FOI ”
Christine Paciorek
Freedom of Information Officer
Durham County Council


Having attended the course and sitting the exam I have learned a wealth of information and gained knowledge, and an overall new found level of confidence, in a new subject area of which will come in very useful in the changing environment of information governance. I am thrilled to have passed the exam and gained the qualification.”
Kate Tregale
Information Governance Manager
NHS Bristol


“I’m really pleased to have passed this examination. The qualification is evidence of my professional FOI knowledge in my organisation. I would recommend this course to other individuals working in the FOI area.”
Julia Snape
Information Associate


“I am thrilled to have passed the Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information. The course and exam were quite challenging but have given me much more confidence in performing my role. The accompanying materials were really helpful and are an excellent source of reference.”
Lisa Smith
Corporate Information Manager
Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service


“The four training days gave me a sound knowledge base which I was able to translate into practice easily and I regularly refer back to my course notes and slides. The training was led by highly proficient experts who demystified the concepts. I would recommend the Practitioner Certificate in FOI to anybody responsible for this function.”
Deborah Pullen
Head of Legal & Regulatory Services
Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust


“The course was interesting and informative, and even after working in this field for some time I realised there was still much to learn. It's nice to have an actual qualification to back up the advice and guidance I give!”
Steve Wilson
Senior Policy Officer
Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)


“My knowledge of access to information legislation has increased greatly since attending the Practitioners Certificate in FOI programme. All of the Tutors and PDP staff were great throughout and I’d highly recommend the course to fellow professionals working within the field.”
Garry Dando
Access to Information Officer
Marine Management Organisation


“The FOI Practitioner Programme provides a very good understanding of access to information legislation and my confidence has increased immensely. The course content and materials are fantastic and I use the folders as reference regularly in my role.”
Leila Ridley
Information Compliance Manager
Islington Council


“Many thanks to the tutors and PDP staff for their support during the programme. The course was very helpful in my role and in preparation for the exam.”
Ravinder Singh
Information Manager
Technology Strategy Board


“The PDP Practitioner Certificate in FOI is a comprehensive qualification that gives FOI practitioners up-to-date knowledge and confidence in dealing with information requests.”
Judy Gough
Interim Information Access Manager
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority


“There’s a lot more to dealing with information requests than most people think! Proper training is essential, but it’s great that there is now also the opportunity to become qualified. The FOI Practitioner course and exam was very challenging, but well worth the effort and I’m very glad I did it.”
Jane Hay
Performance Officer
Purbeck District Council